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Thug Life: All in the Game
All in the Game

USA 2011
produced by
Gary Ugarek, Jim Heffernan (executive), Nelson Irizarry (executive), Daniel Ross (executive) for Wetnwildradio Films, Team Game Productions
directed by Gary Ugarek
starring Micaiah Jones, Chris Clanton, Kelvin Page, Nelson Irizarry, Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Kim Hoang, Manuel Poblete, Ron Bush, Joseph D.Durbin, Dominique Spencer, Ashlea Hogan, Gary Ugarek, Ryan Braxton, Kristen Thomas
written by Gary Ugarek, music by Lawrence Atkinson, Dre Babes, M.E.C.C.A., Saint Anger, Four-In

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Everybody wants to be a gangster these days, especially if he's living on welfare in the poorer neighbourhoods of East Baltimore of course. So everybody's in a gang (which mostly means selling crack on streetcorners), and everybody boasts about it - much to the dismay of Ontario Banks (Nelson Irizarry), a small-fry gangleader who actually wants to go places and has the talent to do so ... but most of his over-confident but useless gangmembers are more of a burden than a help.

But Ontario has got big ideas, he wants to take over Little Italy, so he gathers the few people in his outfit he thinks he can trust (Micaiah Jones, Chris Clanton, Kelvin Page), and first they shake things up a bit before moving in for the big fish, Caprisci (Michael McMullin), an old school gangster with a well-oiled organisation.

Now sure, Ontario and friends will never get his hands on Caprisci directly, he's much to cautious a man for that, but his son Nicki (Daniel Ross) is a bit of a black sheep, inasmuch as he likes drugs and whores a bit too much for his own good - and eventually, Ontario and friends take him hostage, then lure poppa Caprisci into their lion's den. It could have all gone sooo well, too ...

Click here to open the Spoiler Pop-up!

 

Thug Life: All in the Game is a film that doesn't glamourize the gangster lifestyle like probably too many other films, but takes the gangster as such back to street level, where only the minority ever rise up from (nor do the guys in the film, actually, despite their best efforts). That doesn't mean though that the film isn't stylish despite everything: Its intentionally unsteady, nervous, even bumpy camerawork perfectly mirrors the distracted overall situation, its slightly over-saturated black-and-white imagery add to the film's mood caught between big dreams and stark reality, and its authentic run-down locations are nothing short of perfect.

Pretty good, actually. Exactly what a modern gangster movie's supposed to look and feel like!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD